New Delhi, Dec 15 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi's reminder to the BJP about the release of top Lashkar-e-Toiba man Masood Azhar for release of Kandahar plane hijack victims in its days of power at the Centre today provoked former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh to call for a national consensus on how to respond to such ituations.
''After the elections in Gujarat are over, the Centre should call an all party meeting to discuss the issue and formulate the policy on the response of the Government when release of terrorist is demanded as ransom,'' he said addressing a press conference here.
Since Ms Sonia Gandhi has revived the issue, it was better that it was taken up and a comprehensive response to such situations was formulated.
''Along wih political parties, the government should also hold consultation with security experts, representatives of the civil society, human rights activists etc while framing the policy,'' said the former Prime Minister.
Replying to a question on the release of Rubaiya Saeed, daughter of Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Saeed in his Government, Mr Singh said he had totally rejected the terrorists' demand for he release of their top leaders, following which they scaled down their demand to second grade leaders, which was also rejected, after which as a face saving, they settled for the release of some men who had been arrested on minor charges.
''The terrorists freed during the BJP regime could not be compared to the ones released during my days at the Centre. It is Lashkar-e-Toiba leader Masood Azhar who masterminded the attack on Parliament,'' he pointed out.
He, however, said it was no use raking up the past and indulging in the blame game. It would be more useful if the country evolves a comprehensive response to such matter.
Replying to a question on the CPI-M statement that the Left parties would try to evolve a ''Third Front'', Mr Singh said he would comment only when he knows what would be the complexion of the constituents of such a front.